Renee Robyn is a pretty freakin awesome and inspiring person that is out to show how beautiful the world can be– I’m pretty sure that’s what you just learned in the video, that is if you weren’t distracted by SmugMug’s gorgeous cinematic display of her and her work. But besides being awesome at what she does, which is compositing multiple images to make an awesome image, she’s a really cool person. First off, she’s got a blue streak of hair. Secondly, she rides a motorcycle. Thirdly, she’s pretty freakin deep and down to earth. But seriously, she’s inspiring, her work is inspiring, and oh, did I mention she’s inspiring?

Something that sticks out to me in this video is that she wrecked a motorcycle, had to learn how to walk again and then she still continues to ride even after the wreck. Most people quit riding after a scare on a bike, yet alone being slightly disabled from a wreck. That shows me inspiring resilience. She wasn’t going to let a wreck stop her from doing what she loved, both in riding and in photography, although I’m sure she had to have been at least a little bit scared to get back on a bike. She overcame that fear of riding and capitalized on her recovery time and continued to improve her photography through the process of compositing images of places she had been and other images she would take at a later date. She didn’t use the physical limitations imposed by the situation as an excuse, as she could easily have done.

There’s a story behind a one specific picture in that video that I had purchased from Renee and had framed a few years back. It’s a gorgeous image of a beautiful girl that jumped off the edge of a building into the heart a city, unconstrained, only with little ethereal wings to aid her descent. I’ll have to ask her again to clarify, but from what I recall from what she told me, the picture depicts how she felt when she left the stability of the job for the pursuit of her photography passion.JMLS8912 I may not accurately depict what she had felt, but I connected with it and had a similar situation. I left a stable, great paying job that treated me like crap and took the jump into into full-time photography– hoping that the skills that I had would be enough to keep me alive, but knowing that anything would be better than working at that last job, even starving or death. I wasn’t sure of what the heck I was doing, if I was going to be good enough, if I was going to be able to eat and of course if I was going to get paid. It was a decision that was spontaneous although I pondered the though of it over and over until I did it. And when I did it, I felt like I jumped off a cliff, but I felt so free. A side-note about the image, if my memory serves me right, when she conceptualized that image, she didn’t have the necessary skills to make it as good as she wanted, but that didn’t discourage her. She didn’t call it finished until she learned the skills to make it exactly what she had pictured. That picture hangs on my wall as a reminder of hope, risk taking and endless possibilities and motivates me to keep on improving and expanding on the skills necessary to make the images that I have in my mind come to fruition.

Renee has also taken time to help out those around her– another awesome reason why she’s awesome. I had a personal experience with her and a friend over dinner, where she challenged me, for my own sake of experience, to get in front of her camera. I resisted for a good minute, as I was stuffing my face with amazing Japanese BBQ, but soon realized that she’s wanted me to improve and was giving me a chance to feel what I often make other people feel. I took the chance and ended up having one of the most challenging (for me) and pretty neat pictures taken of me… seriously though, I’m in a feather neckpiece… Never would have thought of that on my own, but the thing is that she pushes people to get out of their comfort zones and to try things and learn from the experiences. She gave me the opportunity to learn– a characteristic of an awesome person, and that is also inspiring.